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Powell Confirmation Testimony (Excerpts-17 Jan 01)

Below are a few excerpts from:

Senate Foreign Relations Committee, confirmation hearing for Secretary of State designate Colin 
Powell, chaired by Senator 
Joseph Biden (D-DE), 17 January 2001

Here Powell suggests that the U.S. and UK are alone on their Iraq policy; maintains that the U.S. 
will "re-energize the sanctions regime"; and contends that sanctions are sometimes 
"self-defeating," may demonstrate American "arrogance," and can be "hypocritical." [NH: Bear in 
mind that the preceding question from Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT), a well-known opponent of 
U.S. unilateral sanctions on Cuba, addressed U.S. unilateral narcotics "certification" for 
[primarily Latin American] countries and that Powell probably means unilateral U.S. sanctions]   

For the complete testimony (as an MS Word document the testimony covers approximately 130 pages), 
contact Nathaniel Hurd at


As I say, Iraq, at that time [NH: the Gulf War] we had a coalition of dozens of nations that fought 
that war and brought it to a successful conclusion. And today, America stands alone in that 
theater, containing Saddam Hussein, together with Great Britain and several allies in the Gulf 
operations using naval vessels, but basically we're alone. 

And when we look at that whole troubled region, Mr. Chairman, there is no more tragic case than 
Iraq, a failed state with a failed leader. It is sad to consider what could be, what should be, if 
only Iraq would use its resources and its talented people for constructive purposes. 

This is the 10th year anniversary of the beginning of Desert Storm, a war we wish we didn't have to 
fight. We wish the Iraqi leaders and their people had come to their senses back then and not caused 
this conflict to happen. But it did happen. And we went into that war with clear political 
objectives and those objectives were to kick the Iraqi army out of Kuwait, and they are gone and 
the legitimate government has been restored. 

Unfortunately, Saddam Hussein is still in power. But what a mess he has made of his nation over the 
past 10 years while the rest of the world has moved on. While we have seen our economy flourish, 
while we bring up a new generation of youngsters ready for the Internet age, he sits there trapped 
in the past. Instead of seeking peace and prosperity for his people, we see a weakened Iraq that 
utters threats and pursues horrible weapons to terrorize its neighbors. 

We have seen what they will do and have done in the past in Teheran. We have seen it in Kuwait 
City, especially to the children of Kuwait. We must not forget how Iraq treated those innocent 
children. And we saw some of the effects of that treatment on our television screens. 

The president-elect has made it clear that we will work with our allies to reenergize the sanctions 
regime. Critics will say that tightened sanctions mean more harm to the people of Iraq, especially 
the children. No one cares for children more than I do. And I understand that a nuclear, biological 
or chemical weapon of a Saddam Hussein threatens not only the children of Iraq but the entire 
region far more than tightened sanctions, whose ultimate goal is not to hurt Iraq, but to prevent 
them from having such terrible weapons in their arsenal. 

We need to be vigilant, ready to respond to provocations and utterly steadfast in our policy toward 
Saddam Hussein. And we need to be supportive of opposition efforts. The burden is not on us or the 
United Nations. The burden has to be placed on Iraq to come into compliance with the agreement they 
made at the end of the Gulf War. We owe this to its neighbors and we owe this to its neighbors' 
children, that they are no longer threatened, that Iraq is ready to live in the world and not apart 
from it. And until Iraq makes that decision and lives by it, we will remain resolute. 

All certifications and sanction regimes have a noble purpose from their origins. That's why we have 
them. They're trying to change behavior and change behavior in the right way. But there are 
occasions where it becomes self-defeating and where it shows a degree of American hubris and 
arrogance that may not, at the end of the day, serve our interest all that well, particularly when 
we end up waiving it all the time. It becomes a little hypocritical, to be frank. 


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